Philadelphia needs to respond more forcefully to those responsible for this behavior in order to deter it.
Most juveniles know that, if caught, they will most likely get a slap on the wrist. Juvenile criminals, along with their legal guardians, should be forced to do community service. Either that, or have both parents and juveniles do jail time. Parents need to be held responsible for their children's actions, and until we have stronger deterrents in place, we are jeopardizing one of the crown jewels of Philadelphia.
Masters of the art of bilking taxpayers
I want to thank The Inquirer for exposing the seemingly endless greed of various senior partners in our "prestigious" Center City law firms ("PHA chief eyes legal expenses," July 1). A prime example of their outrageous greed is the millions of dollars in "legal fees" they illicitly obtained from the hapless and corrupt Philadelphia Housing Authority.
As a former Justice Department attorney in Washington who last year retired to Center City Philadelphia, I find the sleazy behavior of these senior partners appalling. They are truly superb practitioners of the art of bilking taxpayers. They represent the very worst of the legal profession.
Display the art donated to schools
The article on June 29 "Overlooked painting to aid schools" was another reminder of the hundreds of paintings donated to the schools of Philadelphia over the last 150 years. The article said there are more than 1,200.
How difficult would it be for the city fathers to arrange an exhibition of, say, 400 at a time over the course of a year, charging a fee to see them all?
How difficult would it be to display them at a centrally located place for the people to enjoy?
The city has a lot of problems and I am sure Mayor Nutter has more important things to do. But if the city is to become a center for fine artworks, as it evidently wants to be, wouldn't it be a natural to have a completely different kind of art show, composed entirely of gifts from Philadelphians?
It would be a nice way to thank those more than 1,200 donors. And it wouldn't be hard to do at all.
Wage theft is not always clearcut
On June 26, Jane Von Bergen wrote an important story about wage theft, "At struggling firms, workers holding on."
I am a lawyer representing employers, but I am not so naive as to think that all employers want to do the right thing. But I do believe that most do.
Wage theft is not always obvious. Take a good person but inefficient employee who is told to finish a project by 5 p.m., which is more than enough time. But he can't get it done and, without permission, works two hours overtime. Company policy, however, prohibits overtime without prior permission.
When his manager sees the employee's time card, she thinks, "Wage theft - he just stole two hours of overtime pay because of his inefficiency." So she deletes the overtime from the time card. The employee sees the change and cries, "Wage theft - I worked the time and you are stealing my wages."
As a general rule, if an employer benefits from work, the employer has to pay for the time. But the employee can be disciplined, up to and including termination, for violating company policy.
The manager should have managed the employee's performance, not his pay. But she acted out of ignorance, not malice. Hence, training managers on what they can and cannot do under the law is an important step in protecting employees, managers, and their employer.
Jonathan A. Segal
Partner, Duane Morris LLP
Test scores deserve a critical look
Before applauding the Philadelphia school system in general and Superintendent Arlene Ackerman in particular for schools' test-score improvements ("Phila. schools post test-score gains again," June 28), a thorough investigation should be considered into possible "grade inflation." Recently, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution smelled a rat when Atlanta schools reported similar stellar improvements. The paper uncovered massive fraud in test-score data, and criminal action against teachers and administrators is now a possibility.
This may well not be the case here, but I think it bears looking into.
Christie's 'gift' was to all taxpayers
Sunday's editorial "Bridge Destroyed" said that Gov. Christie gave millionaires a "gift" by not raising their income taxes. Then every New Jersey taxpayer got the same gift, since no one's taxes will be raised.
Millionaires already carry a heavy tax burden in New Jersey. Division of Taxation 2005 statistics (the most recent data available) show that 2.7 million households filed taxes, and that about 13,000 earned more than $1 million. In a state with over eight million people, these 13,000 families paid almost 30 percent of the income taxes.